A Strategic Movement


A Strategic Movement


WHEN Mr. William Jupp, mariner, late of the tramping clay-steamer Lucy of Looe, from Stockholm to London Docks with a return-cargo of fresh meat and middle-aged eggs, had drawn his pay as A.B.—a title hotly contested by the captain and mate of the Lucy of Looe—a desire to inhale once more the health-giving breezes of his native Kentish town and renew old ties, somewhat rudely broken a few brief years previously, led the returned prodigal to board a 'bus bound for the northwest.

To nostrils fresh from the ocean breezes, the perfume of haddocks in the Queen’s Crescent could give no sensation that was new, and after traversing a grove of these saline articles of diet, tastefully interspersed with cheap haberdashery and old ironware, Mr. Jupp steered down a narrow turning, pausing at the corner public-house to inquire the time, and finally brought-to at the middle house of a squeezy row of five. Unmistakable signs of festivity distinguished the dwelling : the muslin curtains were stiff with recent starch, and the doorsteps were dazzlingly clean. A potman from the public-house at the corner was in the act of delivering such a number of frothing quart pots at the area door that Mr. Jupp’s first solo on the frontdoor knocker, which wore a white calico favor of huge proportions, was rendered faint by emotion. Upon a repetition of the knock, his sister Lizzie, a fresh-colored young woman of twenty-three, in a state of excitement and ribbons which even Mr. Jupp hesitated to attribute to joy at his return, opened to the wanderer.

“What ho, Liz !” said Mr. Jupp with easy playfulness.

“My gracious !” remarked the fresh-colored young woman, without perceptible rapture, “it’s Bill !”

“The same as ever,” said Mr. Jupp, by a brotherly salute convincing the young woman that his fraternal feelings and the bristles on his chin were as strong as ever. She squealed, and at the shrill sound the upper half of the body of another young woman—in a similar condition as to ribbons and excitement—appeared above the landing of the kitchen stairs.

“We don’t want no coal to-day,” cried the second young woman. “Get off my clean doorstep, will you ? Here, Rover ! Ro-”

“It ain’t the coalman,” said Lizzie, as a chain rattled in the back yard and a hoarse bark responded to the second young woman’s call. “It’s Bill come home from sea !”

“Don’t make as though you didn’t know as what I was a-coming, both of you,” said Mr. Jupp in an injured tone, “when you’ve ’ad a letter to say.”

The young women exchanged a glance and shook their heads. “That’s another of yours, Bill,” said the first young woman. “We haven’t ’ad no letter.”

“Nor you didn’t write us none, neither,” said the second young woman. “If anything came, it was a post card ! ”

“It were a post card,” said the injured Mr. Jupp, “with a pictur’ of the King o’ Sweden on it.”

“And no stamp,” said the second young woman. “The postman wanted me to pay tuppence for it, so I wouldn’t take it in. It was just like you, he said.”

“The pictur’ of the King of Sweden ?” inquired the flattered Mr. Jupp.

“No; the meanness of posting it without a stamp,” said the second sister.

“I’ll remember that postman when I see ’im,” said the injured Mr. Jupp. “Meantime, are you two gals a-going to let me come aboard —in, I mean—or ain’t you ?”

“I suppose we must,” said Bessie, the second young woman, who was the elder of the Misses Jupp. “Troubles never come singly,” she added.

“It never rains but it pours !” remarked Lizzie, as she economically opened the hall door just wide enough to admit the form of the returned wanderer, and warmly urged him to wipe his boots once more upon the mat which adorned the sacred threshold of home. “No, don’t you go in there !” she added hastily, as Mr. Jupp extended his hand towards the knob of the front parlor door. “That’s where it’s all laid out an’ waiting ! ’ ’

“Not a corpse!” said Mr. Jupp, hastily withdrawing his hand.

Both the girls giggled, and Mr. Jupp, who had a rooted aversion to corpses, felt relieved.

“I noo if it was, it couldn’t be neither o’ you,” he explained, as he followed his sisters to the basement kitchen, “cos the best ones of a family are them what always gets took fust. Elfred, or Joe, I expected it ’ad ’ave bin, or father. ‘Ow is the old man, since we’re talkin’ ?”

“You may well ask how father is ?” said Bessie, tossing her head. “You wouldn’t need to ask if you knew where he is.”

“Why, where is ’e ?” inquired Mr. Jupp’s puzzled son.

“He’s at church!” replied Lizzie. She exchanged a knowing wink with her sister, and together the young women enjoyed the pictorial changes of expression which rapidly succeeded one another on the mobile countenance of their elder brother.

“At church !” gasped Mr. Jupp at length. “Father ! Why, what’s come over ’im ?”

“You may well ask,” said Bessie. “Do you call to mind the little sweet-an’-tobacco shop in Railway Lane, kep’ by a widow what never really was one—a Mrs. Clark, with a red nose an’ a lot o’ little ringlets of ’oburn ’air ? You do ? Well, that’s what’s come over father !”

“Sweet-an’-tobacco shop in Railway Lane ! ’Ow could that come over-?” Mr. Jupp was beginning, when an inner light dawned upon him, and he heavily smote his knee.

“You mean the widder !” he cried. “Well, I’m blowed ! An’ so father’s up to a bit of a lark at ’is age ! Well done, ’im !”

“If you call gettin’ married to a red-nosed old cat a bit of a lark,” said Bessie, “that’s what he is up to this minute. Joe an’ Elfred ’ave gone to be bridesmaids,” she added, as Mr. Jupp gave vent to a piercing whistle of astonishment, “ ’as me and Liz couldn’t be spared from ’ome.”

“You could ’ave got a gal in,” suggested Mr. Jupp, whose protracted abstinence from malt liquor—his last pint having been absorbed at the corner public-house previously mentioned—rendered his brain preternaturally clear.

“I reckon we could, silly,” retorted Lizzie ; “an’ left her to look after the weddin’ breakfast an’ take in the beer.”

“I could ’a’ done that for you,” hazarded Mr. Jupp.

“I lay you could,” said Bessie, with an unsisterly emphasis that brought a flush to the brow of the returned prodigal ; “and watch the furniture, too.”

“Watch the furniture!” echoed Mr. Jupp. “For fear of bailiffs, d’yer mean ?”

“For fear of stepmothers, which is worse,” said Lizzie Jupp, her ribbons bristling with defiance of the lady who was at that moment receiving the vows of the elder Mr. Jupp. “You’ve no idea what a under’anded, artful thing she is, for all ’er mealymouthed talk.”

“But we’ve got the better of ’er, mealy-mouth an’ all,” said Bessie, “or we shall when her and father ’ave started on the wedding journey to their new ’ome. There’s all 'is clothes, packed in that corded box in the passage, ready to go away.”

“ ’Ome !” echoed Mr. Jupp. Why, ain’t this their ’ome ?”

“Not while me an’ Liz an’ Elfred an’ Joe are inside of it, whatever you may be pore-sperrited enough to think,” said Bessie.

“Why, ain’t it—ain’t it big enough ?” hazarded Mr. Jupp, his eye questing furtively in search of the beer-cans.

“No !” said Bessie plumply.

“It used to be, when mother was alive,” said Mr. Jupp, whose tongue clave to the roof of his mouth with thirst.

“But it isn’t now,” said Lizzie. “The fust thing me and Bess done, when father broke the news of ’is engagement, was to move ’is bed ’an chest of drawers an’ washstand an things up into the little attic in the roof, an’ take his large first-floor front bedroom for ourselves. Then we divided the other two bedrooms between Elfred and Joe, an’ dared ’em to move out. Father tried ’are to come over ’em to change with ’im, and once or twice he managed it ; but we always changed his things back to the attic whenever he moved ’em out, an’ at last he got resigned an’ took a little furnished house at 'Ighgate Clayfields for himself an’ his bride.”

“But what about the rent o’ this one ?” asked Mr. Jupp with bluntness.

“There’s only two quarters more to pay to the Building Society,” said Bessie, “and then the house is ours.”

"Father’s, you mean,” Mr. Jupp was going to say, but the look in Bessie’s eye silenced the words upon his tongue, and he turned the conversation, dwelling upon the dryness of the weather and the thirst-provoking properties of the air of Kentish Town. The arid lack of sympathy with which his hints were ignored was fast converting him from a man and a brother into a mere man, when the legs of a cab-horse were seen to pass the window of the basement kitchen, from which all light was immediately afterwards blocked out by the body of a fourwheeled cab. A moment later Mr. Jupp’s latch-key was heard in the door, which his daughters had thoughtfully bolted.

"I thought it might be you,” said Lizzie, as, after a protracted interval, during which Mr. Jupp senior had been heard to swear, she admitted the happy couple, followed by the bridesmaids, Joe and Alfred ; a sandy-haired, middle-aged niece of the bride, attired in the blue serge and poke-bonnet of the Salvation Army ; a stout lady in a velvet mantle and feathers, who had taken over the lease, fixtures, stock, and goodwill of the little sweet-and-tobacco shop in the Railway Lane, and who had brought her little girl; and three of Mr. Jupp’s male cronies and club associates, who had come to give their friend countenance and support.

"If you thought it was me—us, I mean,” said Mr. Jupp, with a fatherly scowl, " ’ow is it you didn’t open the door ?” He led his blushing bride past his daughters, threw open the door of the front room where the wedding-breakfast was spread, and smoothed his corrugated brow as he viewed his well-spread board. "Eliza, you set at the ’ead, side o’ me,” he continued. "Missis Jecks, you an’ Lotty come ’ere on my left. Clarkson, look after the bottom of the table ; there’s a cold loin o’ pork out o’ your own shop what we’ll look to you to carve. Widgett, you git on the left ’and o’ Clarkson, an’ Blaberry, you set on ’is knife side. Joe an’ Elfred, stow yourselves where you can. Now, then, gals, where’s the beer ?”

But neither Mr. Clarkson, who was gallant, as are all butchers, nor Mr. Blaberry, who was a builder, nor Mr. Widgett, who kept an oil and hardware store, would be seated before the Misses Jupp, who natural charms, heightened by ribbons and indignation, had created an instantaneous impression.

"We’re coming directly,” said Bessie, with a fascinating smile, bestowed impartially upon all three men, "an’ so’s the beer. No wonder pore father wants a drop, after all he has gone through this morning.”

"Gone through ?” echoed the stout lady, who, having acquired the sweet-and-tobacco shop upon low terms, was temporarily an enthusiastic partisan of the new Mrs. Jupp. "Gone through ?”

"You’re a bit deaf, ain’t you ?” said Bessie, bridling. "So’s father, in one ear, and both when sensible people try to offer ’im advice. I’ve half wished I was, more than once o' late, when I’ve ’appened to over’ear remarks as ’ave bin made. What was it, Liz, the cabman said when you took ’im out ’is fare ?”

" ‘No fool like an old fool,’ I think it was,” said Lizzie, serving out the beer and accidentally passing over the bride, an instance of neglect which the incensed bridegroom remedied by wresting the jug from his rebellious offspring and helping his wife himself. "But 'e ’ad a shilling in ’is mouth, and it didn’t come out clear. Move up a bit more, Joe; another plate ’as got to get in at this corner. Ain’t it pleasant,” she continued brightly—“we shall be just thirteen at table—with Bill ?”

Mr. Jupp senior’s loaded fork had been arrested on its way to his mouth at the sound of the prodigal’s name. As the door creaked modestly open, his jaw visibly dropped, but he shook hands with the thirteenth guest with some show of cordiality, and introduced his eldest stepson to the new Mrs. Jupp by the simple process of jerking his chin at the gentleman and immediately nudging the lady in the side. Rendered venomous by the attacks of the sisters, the late incumbent of the sweetstuff-and-tobacco shop saw in the awkward form and embarrassed countenance of the returned wandered a suitable sacrifice, and immediately proceeded to offer him up, by asking how long he had been away.

“Five years !” said Mr. William Jupp with brevity.

“Dear, dear!” ejaculated the new Mrs. Jupp, “and did they give you as much as that ?”

“Did who give him what ?” queried Mr. Jupp senior in some surprise.

“The judge and jury I mean, but I was afraid it ’ud wound ’is feelings to mention ’em,” explained the new Mrs. Jupp delicately.

“What maggot ’ave you got into your ’ead now,” demanded the bridegroom, “ ’bout judges and juries ? Bill ’as bin away to sea.”

“I'm shore I beg pardon,” apologized the new Mrs. Jupp, as her eldest stepson commanded his swollen feelings and addressed himself to cold pork and beer. “I must ’ave bin thinking of your pore wife’s brother Ben what broke the jeweler’s winder with a brick an’ stole a trayful o’ wedding-rings.”

“I wonder at ’im, if ’e did,” said Mr. William Jupp, glaring pointedly at his new parent over a chop bone, at this untimely reference to the undeniable blot on the family scutcheon. “One weddin’ ring’s enough for most men.”

“An’ too much for some !” said his younger brother Joe, stimulated to the sally by the shrill giggles of his sisters.

“Are you a-going to set by and hear me insulted at your—at my own table, an’ on such a day as this ?” demanded the bride shrilly of the elder Mr. Japp.

“Joe,” said that gentleman in a voice rendered thick by emotion and mashed potato. “You an’ me’ll ’ave a word in the back yard by an' by. You ain’t too old an’ too big to whop—whatever others may be.

“Come, come!” said Clarkson, who loved peace, “ ‘Birds in their little’—you know ! Who’ll ’ave a bit more pork ?” and he smiled genially as he contemplated the fast-vanishing joint, which he had supplied.

“Not for me !” said the second Mrs. Jupp, in a faint, ladylike voice, as she pushed away her empty plate. “I don’t wish to put anybody off of it—but it tastes a bit measly, to my mind.”

“Measly!” gasped the outraged butcher, crimson from his throttling collar to the tips of his large ears. “Me sell measly meat ! Look here --"

“Doa’t pay no attention, Mr. Clarkson,” said Lizzie in a loud, bright, cheerful whisper. “Don’t you know them as ain’t used to 'ave no fresh meat are always the ’ardest to please ? Bloaters all the week round, an’ ‘block ornaments’ on Sundays—that’s about ’er mark!”

“If you’re a man, Jupp,” panted the incensed bride, “you’ll show it now, by standing up for your wife ! ”

“What’s the matter now ?” growled Mr. Jupp senior, looking up from a plateful of apple pie, as his spouse sank back in her chair, making noises in her throat suggestive of clucking poultry and clocks running down. “What ’as anybody bin an’ said now ? You’re too feeling, Eliza, that’s what you are.”

“There, there !” said the stout lady soothingly, as the poultry and the clocks continued : “there, there's a dear ! Give ’er a drop of beer, Mr. Jupp, sir—the jug’s your way. See, now,” she continued, as Mr. Jupp’s compliance promptly flooded the table-cloth, “he’s ’elded you as ’e loves you—as the saying is ! ”

“There’s nothing in the glass but froth,” sobbed the bride, after an unavailing attempt to drink out of the tumbler.

“Give ’er the jug,” suggested Alfred, who had not yet offered any contribution to the general conversation. Reading in his father’s eye an appointment in the back-yard similar to Joe’s, the youth choked, and the elderly young lady in Salvation Army uniform patted him obligingly upon the back.

“That’s what comes of eatin’ in a ’urry,” said the stout lady rebukingly.

“Don’t blame the pore boy,” said his new mother in a sudden access of affection. “You’d bolt if you was kep’ as short o’ food as Elfred is. Ribbons an’ fal-lals has to be paid for at the draper’s, if two young women as ought to know better want to be took for worse than what they are.” This homethrust delivered at the Misses Jupp rendered Bessie, for the moment, incapable of speech. Lizzie was about to plunge into the arena, when the passage of an enormous furniture van down the narrow thoroughfare without shook the small house so violently that she was obliged to cling to her next neighbors for support. These being Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Widgett, who, manifested gratification at being clung to, the indignation of Mrs. Jupp was raised to boiling-point.

“Well, I’m sure !” she said, with a scandalized glare at the offenders. “Nice goings on !”

“Nice goings off, you mean,” said the humorous Mr. Widgett, pointing with his unoccupied arm to the word “Removals,” which was painted in child-high yellow letters on the passing vehicle.

“Somebody’s doin’ a quittin’ today, ain’t ’em ?” observed the stout lady.

“Prob’ly them Gadgers at Number Five,” said Mr. Jupp hastily. “Told me yesterday ’e thought o’ movin’, Gadger did.”

“The van’s stoppin’ ’ere !” squealed the little girl who had accompanied the stout lady, as the house left off trembling and the grinding wheels stopped.

“It’s a mistake,” said Mr. Jupp, hastily bolting the last mouthful of pie. “I’ll go an’ tell ’em-” He rose, but not as quickly as his daughters.

“Don’t you trouble, father,” said Lizzie, with unmistakable meaning, as she turned the key in the door, withdrew it, and placed it in her pocket.

“You sit down and finish your beer, father,” said Bessie warningly. “You’ll have to start in a few minutes now, if you want to get into your new place by tea-time.”

“Out away by 'Ighgate Clayfields, ain’t it ?” queried Mr. Blabery.

Some secret emotion impeded the speech of Mr. Jupp and flushed his countenance, as he replied that the localization of Mr. Biaberry was in every way correct, and opened a bottle of unsweetened gin.

“Such a dismal, lonesome, out o’ the way kind o’ place to settle in, I should ’ave thought,” said the Salvation niece of Mrs. Jupp hesitatingly.

“Not for a noo married couple, my dear !” said the stout lady, taking a little cold water in a glass of gin.

“It’s what I call a hideel situation —that’s what I call it !” said Mr. Jupp, sipping at a tumbler he was mixing for his wife and openly winking over the edge of it. “Down near the bottom of a nooly opened street with a railway embankment blockin’ up the end, an’ a reclaimed bit o’ waste ground at the back. No shops ’cept a chandler’s, which is also a greengrocer’s an’ a butcher’s an’ a baker’s an’ grocer’s in one. No drapers, no theayter, no singin’-’all, no cookin’ club nor Young Women’s Friendly, which is another name for sweetheartin’ on the sly. Quarter of a mile to walk to catch your train, an’ a ’bus every ’arf-’our to the places you don’t want to go to.”

“Well, I hope you’ll both be ’appy there !” said Bessie, laughing unrestrainedly. “How those vanmen are bumping the things about next door ! ”

“They’ve done now !” said Mr. Jupp, lighting a large, pale cigar in a red waistband, as the heavy doors of the van banged to, and the vehicle lumbered away. “They ’adn’t much to take,” he added incautiously. “ ’Ere ! Where are you off to?” For Lizzie Jupp, with cheeks some degrees paler in hue, had risen and hurried to the door.

“I—I thought I’d ’ave a look at the kitchen fire !” she faltered, her uneasiness increased by the discovery that the new Mrs. Jupp was smiling.

“Blow the kitchen fire !” said Mr. Jupp lightly. “Eliza, get your bonnet on. Joe, you run and fetch a cab.”

“There’s one waiting at the corner outside the ‘Frothing Pot,’ said Bessie affectionately. “Me and Liz saw to that !” She produced a large bag of paper confetti and a second-hand boot from a drawer in the sideboard, and, in a pelting blizzard of colored paper, Mr. Jupp, his box, and his newly wedded wife, hurried through the hall, down the doorsteps and into the cab, into which Alfred was hauled at the last moment by the author of his being. The door banged, the second-hand boot shattered the window, and the married couple had started on their honeymoon.

“Father feels shy, I suppose,” said Lizzie, giggling as she settled her ribbons and exchanged a look of triumph with her sister, “or he wouldn’t have took Elfred.”

“He may keep him if he likes,” said Bessie Jupp. “Always too much of a favorite, Elfred’s bin, to please me. Now, Mr. Clarkson, will you have a cup of tea after all this excitement, or something better ?”

The gallant Mr. Clarkson said he would have something better, and took it in the shape of a kiss, Messrs. Widgett and Blaberry following the example of the bold butcher, in claiming like tribute, the payment of which was ungrudgingly witnessed by Joe and Mr. William Jupp, while rousing shivering emotions of disgust and contempt in the bosoms of the stout lady, the Salvation niece, and the little girl, whose expression of outraged virtue was wonderful for so immature a performer.

These undesired guests had just reassumed their discarded headgear and taken an unregretted leave, and the suggestion of spending the rest of the evening at the theatre had just been mooted by the popular Clarkson and hailed with rapture by the two young ladies, when a thundering tattoo at the hall door caused the stout lady to start and scream, and the unfastening of the portal revealed the boy Alfred, hatiess, crimson, splashed with mud, and gasping for breath.

"My gracious goodness !” cried the stout lady, "there’s bin a accident!”

"Anything happened ?” demanded Clarkson.

"What’s up, Elf ?” said his elder brother.

"Can’t you speak ?” urged his sister Lizzie. "You’re frightening everybody.”

"Gasping like a -” Bessie did not say like a "fish,” because fish have done all their gasping before they come to be sold in Kentish Town; she substituted "like a bellows,” which satisfied everybody. "Is anybody ill—or dead ?” she ended.

The boy Alfred gasped once more and said "Father !”

"What ?”

"No !”

"You don’t mean-”

"I do,” said Alfred loudly—"that is, leastways, ’e ain’t quite,” he continued glibly. " 'E’s ’ad a sudden stroke, an’ they’ve carried ’im into Bickford, the chemist’s, in the Kentish Town Road; an’ ’e’ve sent me ’ome to say as what’s ’appened is a judgment on ’im for marryin’ agin’ ’is dear daughters’ wishes. An’ he wants the one what always loved ’im best to come an’ witness ’is will, ’cos ’e means to leave everythink to 'er. You’re to ’urry there at once without goin’ upstairs to put ou your ’ats, he says, in case he changes ’is mind.”

"The one what always loved ’im best. That means me,” said Bessie, as she snatched her errand-going hat from a peg in the hall. "I was always the one pore father liked best of all.”

"Ah, but I was the one what made the most of ’im !” said Lizzie. She wrested the hat from her sister’s grasp, and darted out of the house, down the steps, and round the corner in an instant.

"Cat!” ejaculated Bessie. Without an instant’s delay, she forcibly deprived Alfred of his cap, and ran down the street after Lizzie. Messrs. Clarkson, Widgett, and Blaberry, left standing on the steps, exchanged dubious glances.

"I wonder which of ’em he thinks loves ’im best ?” said Mr. Blaberry, who was naturally a reflective man.

"I wonder which o’ them Jupp’ll leave his bit o’ money to ?” said Mr. Clarkson. "I wish I was quite sure. As to their love for ’im, it seems to me there’s more bone than meat about it—not that I wish to prejudice you against ’em.”

"You couldn’t if you tried,” said Mr. Widgett ambiguously. He started at an amble, and Clarkson and Blaberry guessed that his destination was the chemist’s in the Kentish Town Road. Mutually on their guard against the meanness that strives to grasp an advantage, they captured their hats and followed. The boy Alfred, grinning cheerfully, watched them depart.

Joe, who has a soft heart, snivelled.

Mr. William Jupp, who had hastened back into the banqueting chamber to fortify himself against approaching bereavement, helped himself to the beer that was left, and then balanced the gin bottle, in which a small quantity yet remained, upside down upon his underlip.

“It’s what ’appens to all on us,” he remarked piously, his eyes still riveted piously upon the ceiling. “Slipped ’is cable by now, ’e ’as, I expect. Ploorisy or pewmonia, or ’plexy or ’paralicks, or one o’ them sicknesses what ail seems to begin with the same letter. What did the chemist say it was, Elfred ?”

“The chemist said,” growled the familiar accents of Mr. Jupp senior, as his horrified son, with a yell, dropped the bottle and reeled backwards into the fortunately empty fireplace—“the chemist said it were the best joke ’e ever ’eard of in all ’is life, played on two o’ the brazenest-faced ’ussies what ever laid their ’eads together to turn their own father out of ’is own ’ouse an’ ’ome. Come in 'ere, Eliza; you’re in your own place. Bolt the front door, Elf; I see them two a-running down the street.” He threw up the parlor window and leaned with dramatic carelessness upon the sill, as the flushed faces of Bessie and Lizzie appeared above the level of the area railings. “Bin ’aving a bit of exercise ?” their parent queried, with a sarcastic grin. “Nice warm day for a run if you don’t overdo it. I see you ’ave, an’ upset yourselves,” he added kindly, as the outwitted sisters burst, with one accord, into loud sobs. “Better git ’ome an’ lay down an’ ’ave a cup o’ tea—leastways, the one that lays down,” he added ; “the one what don’t’ll ’ave to git the tea.”

“Fa-father!” sobbed Bessie. “Oh, what a wicked trick you’ve bin an’ played us !”

“Oh, father,” wailed Lizzie—“making out as you was dyin’ an’ all !”

“You’re drawin’ public attention to the ’ouse,” said Mr. Jupp severely. “Go ’ome an’ torse up for that cup o’ tea ! ”

“This is our ’ome !” sniffed Bessie.

“You know it is !” added Lizzie tearfully.

“Not a bit of it,” said Mr. Jupp genially, his arm affectionately round the waist of the second Mrs. Jupp. “Your ’ome is now the little ’ouse at 'Ighgate Clayfields, in the noo street. You’ll find all your clothes an’ things there,” he added ; “I ’ad ’em took away while we was ’aving breakfast—lent the van-driver my spare latch-key, I did, an’ two pair of old socks what 'im an’ ’is mate put on over their boots, so as not to be over’eard. Now, git along ’ome. The rent’s paid in advance for a ’arf-quarter. I make you a present o’ that.”

“Oh, father!” wailed the outcast Peris. “O-oh, father !”

“You go to Highgate ! ” said Mr. Jupp, and shut the window down.